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"Discussion on the cholera"

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(7 April 1832): 21-24, 51-54, 85-88

The above PFD includes a reporter's account of three meetings of the Westminster Medical Society: 31 March 1832 (published in the Lancet 7 April 1832): 21-24; 7 April 1832 (Lancet 14 April 1832): 51-54; and 14 April 1832 (Lancet 21 April 1832): 85-88.

The context is the early months of actual medical experiences with the first cholera pandemic to reach London. Members of the Westminster Medical Society, including James Johnson, debate "the diversity of doctrine regarding the atmospheric and contagious conveyance of the seeds of the disease."

Readers will find views reflecting the full range of positions: general miasmatic/anticontagion, local anticontagion, contingent contagion, and strict contagion.

These are reporter's notes, not official minutes.

The reporter is anything but an uninvolved recorder of the views heard. There are asides made, opinions offered, and judgments rendered about ideas expressed and the speakers themselves. Hence, the accounts are also suggestive of why some members of the WMS wanted greater control of how its doings were publicized. Eventually, the secretary became responsible for submitting vetted minutes to all medical journals and interested newspapers.

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